Featured image: Sidney Nolan ‘The Watchtower’ from the Ned Kelly Series. Photo Lithograph, Artist Proof A/P, Signed by the artist, Dimensions 48 x 64 cm.
Sidney Nolan’s 1946–47 Ned Kelly series is one of the greatest sequences of Australian paintings of the twentieth century. Nolan’s starkly simplified depiction of Kelly in his armour has become an iconic Australian image. Nolan’s paintings follow the main sequence of the Kelly story. Yet Nolan did not intend the series to be an ‘authentic’ depiction of these events. Rather, these episodes became the setting for the artist’s meditations upon universal themes of injustice, love and betrayal. The Kelly saga was also a way for Nolan to paint the Australian landscape in new ways, with the story giving meaning to the place. Above all, he considered that it was ‘a story arising out of the bush and ending in the bush’
The Artist’s Proofs, often identified by an AP on a print, signifies the small number prints which are made prior to the commencement of the edition. In these proofs the artist works with the printmaker to refine colours, density of ink and other matters which can be adjusted by the printmaker before they commence the edition. Some involve over 40 colours and 6 plates in the process. The artworks are signed and numbered by the artist as soon as the artwork is dry. The aesthetic decisions belong to the artist, but it is the technical skill of the printmaker which brings the artistic vision to life.